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This Is What Happens When You Leave Behind an Important Document From a Secretive Meeting of Progressive Donors

A pair of photographers shoot images of the Chicago skyline near North Avenue Beach as cold temperatures remain with wind chills nearing minus 30 Fahrenheit on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Chicago. Dangerously cold polar air snapped decades-old records as it spread Tuesday from the Midwest to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and eastern Canada, making it hazardous to venture outside and keeping many schools and businesses closed. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles) AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles

Democracy Alliance, a secretive organization that directs millions of dollars to progressive causes, tries its best to keep its members list and activities a secret.

The Four Seasons hotel in Chicago (Image source: Ritz Carlton) Democracy Alliance met in Chicago this year for its annual conference (Image source: Ritz-Carlton)

But a document left behind after the group’s recent conference in Chicago may have undone years of discreet activity.

The confidential document, which was first retrieved and published by the Washington Free Beacon, contains a list of the group's newest “partners” — members who must pay approximately $30,000 in annual dues.

Members must also donate at least $200,000 to approved progressive groups.

Democracy Alliance, which was founded in 2005 by Democratic strategist Rob Stein, does not publicly disclose details regarding its support for progressive organizations and its members are instructed to never speak about the group or its activities.

But the confidential document retrieved by the Beacon gives an inside look at some of the group's newest “advisers” and “foundation participants,” a “who’s who” of labor bosses and top Democratic donors and business leaders.

Democracy Alliance doesn’t accept donations, the Beacon reported:

Instead, it solicits contributions from left-wing millionaires and billionaires, and serves as a ‘pass through’ between those donors and top liberal advocacy groups, including the Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, and Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA.

The document reveals that labor unions have taken on a larger role in Democracy Alliance’s operations.

New members for 2014 include Noel Beasley, president of Workers United and an SEIU vice president, and Keith Mestrich, president of the union-owned Amalgamated Bank.

They are joined by other union heavyweights, including Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who joined Democracy Alliance in 2013.

The Democracy Alliance document also reveals that Phillip Munger, the son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman and Warren Buffett lieutenant Charles Munger, has been brought on as a new partner.

Philip Munger, a professor at the New School in New York City, has donated more than $700,000 to Democratic and liberal groups since 1990 and even donated $46,000 while he was in college.

Munger is also recognized as being one of the “founding members” of Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group that grew out of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, having once donated $250,000 to the group.

Here’s a list of Democracy Alliance’s "new partners" for 2013 (via the Beacon):

  • Paul Boskind: CEO of Deer Oaks Mental Health Associates and theater producer.
  • Larry Cohen: President of the Communications Workers of America.
  • Randi Weingarten: President of the American Federation of Teachers.
  • George Kohl: Senior director of the Communications Workers of America.
  • Michelle Ringuette: Assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
  • Amy Goldman: Author, horticulturalist, and daughter of the late New York City real estate magnate Sol Goldman.

And here’s a list of Democracy Alliance’s "new partners" for 2014 (via the Beacon):

  • Adam Abram: Founder of James River Group, chairman of Franklin Holdings, chairman of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings, former president of Adaron Group.
  • Noel Beasley: President of Workers United, vice president of the Service Employees International Union, chairman of Amalgamated Bank.
  • Keith Mestrich: President of Amalgamated Bank
  • Philip Munger: New School professor, son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles Munger.
  • Colin Greer: President of the New World Foundation.
  • Heeten Kalan: Senior program officer at the New World Foundation.
  • Rick Segal: CEO of Seavest, Inc.
  • Ryan Smith: Unknown. It was originally reported that Smith was the CEO of Qualtrics, but that was not the case.
  • Henry van Ameringen: President of the Van Ameringen Foundation, son of Arnold Louis van Ameringen, founder of International Flavors and Fragrances.
  • Dirk Wiggins: Founder of Code for Progress, former director of targeting for Field Strategies, former outreach director for the Florida Democratic Party.

Click here to read the full report at the Washington Free Beacon.

This post has been updated.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Read TheBlaze Branded Contributor opinion by Edward Woodson on the meeting in Chicago.

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